I started a new programming residency/biweekly Friday film explosion at the Cinefamily in Los Angeles to bring you a carefully curated collection of pizza party classics, fist explosions, international adrenaline-pumpers, ‘80s funbombs, white-hot laugh factories, total freakazoids and more. This is a dedicated study of all that is, and can be, AWESOME.
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The series kicked off last month with a sold out screening of the Canadian sci-fi mindmelter BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW and now hits back in June with PREDATOR and DETENTION, and in July with NEVER TOO YOUNG TO DIE and ROLLING THUNDER.
PREDATOR, June 8
A full-on macho heavyweight rager of intergalactic proportions! In a recent poll to determine the most (probably) scientifically accurate action blast, Scientific American unanimously announced the solid answer: John McTiernan’s amazing Predator. An all-star team of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers (Rocky, Action Jackson), Jesse “The Body” Ventura (plus Commando veteran Bill Duke and Lethal Weapon scribe Shane Black) venture to the jungles of South America to prove once and for all that “if it bleeds, we can kill it.” Big men, big guns, camouflage facepaint, torn limbs and Oscar-nominated (!) effects work by Stan Winston highlight this mandatory big-screen brawler, which still kicks your puny ass twenty-five years later.
Dir. John McTiernan, 1987, 35mm, 107 min.
DETENTION, June 22
From the director of the balls-to-the-wall Torque comes Detention, a genre-bent hyperkinetic smashterpiece that destroys every teen movie concept in an ambitious blink-and-you’ll-miss-it/WHAT THE FUCK AM I WATCHING?! brainscraper. Teen hunkapalooza Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games’ Peeta) headlines the students of Grizzly Lake High as they race to outlast a vicious killer ripped from their local multiplex, while making various stops for time-travel, BitTorrenting, body-swapping, costume parties and your not-so-typical teen romance. Visionary music video director Joseph Kahn (Brandy & Monica’s “The Boy is Mine,” Britney Spears’ “Toxic”) largely self-financed this ‘90s-obsessed, fast-paced alternate universe combination of pop culture mania and bizarre suburban landscape, only to have it abandoned by its distributor on a mere ten screens across the country (the lone L.A. area run was in fucking Burbank). We’re rescuing the film for one night only and in 35mm –- be the friend who saw it FIRST and ON THE BIG SCREEN. Writer/director Joseph Kahn joins Hollywood Reporter contributing editor Todd Gilchrist for a Q&A after the film!
Dir. Joseph Kahn, 2011, 35mm, 93 min.
NEVER TOO YOUNG TO DIE, July 6
Pack your bags and prepare for the RIDE OF YOUR LIFE, as gymnast heartthrob Lance Stargrove (a pre-Full House John Stamos!) avenges the death of his superspy father (former James Bond-er George Lazenby), meets-cute with the sexy Danja Deering (Prince protégé Vanity), and fights to save the world from hermaphrodite megavillain/sultry chanteuse Velvet Von Ragner (Gene Simmons of Kiss, in the role he was born to play.) The ‘80s pizza party masterpiece that you’ve waited a lifetime to discover, Never Too Young To Die delivers on its promise of outrageous action, radical style, loud tunes and big hair, while simultaneously re-examining gender roles in modern cinema. Not to be missed and not on DVD, this Reagan-era time-bomb is screening from what may be the only remaining 35mm print in the known universe!
Dir. Gil Bettman, 1986, 35mm, 97 min
ROLLING THUNDER, July 20
A blistering, slow-burn hook-handed revenge thriller/damaged psyche explosion from screenwriter Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, Hardcore) and director John Flynn (The Outfit, Steven Seagal’s Out for Justice!). What happens when you return from war, and evil bastards take your wife, child, AND YOUR HAND? Hollywood has a long and frequent history of serving up how horrifying the Vietnam War and its aftermath were — but Rolling Thunder probes way, waaaay deeper into the plagued mind of the troubled Vietnam vet than any other film on earth. Influencing a generation of filmmakers (Quentin Tarantino famously named his releasing company after this one) and single-handedly levelling a decade of drive-in-goers, Rolling Thunder remains one of the most powerful films of the ‘70s. See William Devane and Tommy Lee Jones burn down the screen in 35mm!
Dir. John Flynn, 1977, 35mm, 95 min